Day 47 18/11/09
In the morning I had a walk around Cusco with Chris and managed to get my shoe fixed by one of the cobblers in the main square. At around midday we caught a flight to Arequipa after going out the night before I was out like a light.
Arequipa is the white city of Peru as it was originally made out of white volcanic brick from Misti and the other local volcanoes.
Here we watched a cheating Frenchman and Uruguay going through to the World Cup. Didn't do anything that evening as we had an early start off to the Colca Canyon.
Day 48 19/11/09
Our journey to Colca, led by Saul took five hours and took us through the mountains. On the way we passed through Vecun(y)a country. They are similar to Llama yet their fur is far finer, even than an Alpaca's but grows far slower. It was for this reason that they were nearly hunted to extinction. We passed a large herd of them along with farmed Alpacas and Llamas.
Our first stop was in Patapampa at 4,910m a barren area but with good views of the volcanoes. Then we went to Chivay for lunch.
After reaching Coporaque, the village next door to Chivay we rested before half of us headed to the nearby hills to see the local tombs. Corporaque's inhabitants worshiped the nearby tallest peak and as a result practiced cranial deformity. Unfortunately the tombs have been ransacked, but there are a few near complete skeletons.
On the way back down we say old Corporaque before the Spanish relocated the town to the flat bottom rather than the hillside to make it easier to link the towns. This too is now in ruins as it has been left to fade by the residents.
That night we had an incredible buffet dinner but were again in bed early as we were seeing the condors the next day.
Day 49 20/11/09
Up again early and our legend of a bus driver guided us along the cliff side roads to the valley of the Condors. We passed through a tunnel at one point carved through one of the mountains which was unlit so our driver kept on turning the lights off and on to spook us.
When we reached the valley of the condors we waited at the various lookout points for them to arrive. They are ugly but magnificent creatures. Ugly because they have dark skin hoods similar to vultures. Incredible because they are enormous yet silent except for the air currents swooshing under their vast wings. After our first encounter some of us chose to walk between the hillside view points where we saw two more. However the best viewing was of a brown juvenile once the others had rejoined us. He flew in large baking ovals around us slowly using the thermals to gain height before flying over the mountain. Sadly I had put my camera back on the bus as I thought it too heavy for the walk. DAMN!
After the condors we had a brief visit to a small town with an unimpressive church that was in the process of being restored.
Next back to Chivay for lunch at an appalling although very cheap restaurant which came complete with terrible Spanish rap a 12 year old waitress and clips of 50 cent's movie.
In the afternoon a group of us went to Las Caleras just outside Chivay to wallow in some awesome hot springs. Very nice to do with a cold beer in your hand.
Day 50 21/11/09
After saying goodbye to the resident Alpaca Manchus (miserable spitting creature) we headed back to Arequipa. The altitude was so bad that people’s i-pods started failing however the bus man had sorted us with a couple of films so no worries there.
When we got back Chris and I had a brief wander about but as we were leaving at 8pm the next day we decided to leave it till the next day.
That evening we went to a brilliant restaurant where I had what equated to seafood fried rice before heading next door to Farrers an Irish pub to have a couple.
Day 51 22/11/09
Having skipped breakfast, Roland took us to a proper local Peruvian restaurant. So good, and the portions were ridiculously large. I had a langoustina creme soup, fantastic.
After this I headed with the girls to an internet cafe where in one hour I managed one blog entry, South American computers and I do not get along.
Then we all went to see 2012, so awful it was actually funny before getting on a night bus to Nazcar.